The 2010 North American International Auto Show began in Detroit today, and the fanfare is high, but how journalists, consumers, and the market itself will receive the cars once they emerge from those huge cloth covers is still a big mystery, one that I bet automakers wish could be solved in 45 minutes, like on “CSI: Miami.” Instead, car makers have to wring their hands through a bunch of grouchy fiscal quarters. Since the NAIAS is already being covered like a Ferrari at a pig swap, I thought that looking at how one of last year’s offerings weathered its post-unveiling hoopla might make us better prognosticators on the subject, but to make it fun in these bleak times, I chose the designer that most said, “international intrigue,” that was most likely to end up in a high-speed chase, that most reminded me of “CSI: Miami.” I chose Henrik Fisker.
Former BMW designer and now CEO and lead designer of his own firm, Fisker Automotive, Henrik Fisker is just the kind of character on which they would base a murder victim on “CSI: Miami.” In the plot, a greedy rival steals blueprints, and the fictional Fisker is found face-down in wet clay, smothered in a model based on his own imagination. The script writers would have found inspiration while procrastinating on websites for high-end cars and running across this quote from Fisker, “”I enjoy being hands-on. Designing, of course, but also working with the modeler, smelling the clay, getting clay under my fingernails.” After reading Fisker’s real-life quote aloud in the opening scene, Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) might then say, “He smelled the clay alright.” Cue: “Won’t get fooled again.”